MATT Pearce saw off a packed field, which included TV presenter Bear Grylls, to win the touchtennis masters series event in Portsmouth.

Pearce started the event in the round of 64 and was thrilled to work his way through several tough ties to pick up the winner’s trophy.

“It was great to win it,” said Pearce.

“I had six games and played Alex Miotto in the final, which was very tough.

“He was unseeded but had knocked out four seeded players along the way, including the number one.

“He had also beaten me in my previous event, but this time I was pleased to be able to get the win.”

However, Pearce - who is ranked number four in the world - is now keen to secure more success in touchtennis, which sees games played on smaller courts with a foam ball.

“I want to be able to build on this now,” said the former Cecil Jones Academy pupil.

“This was my first masters series title since the middle of 2015, so it’s been nearly three years.

“These events are one of the bigger tournaments on the touchtennis tour, just behind the slams.

“I am now planning on playing at least one of those slam events this year and as that is one of those titles missing from my singles CV in touchtennis, that would be a great title to win.

“It’s being played in early July in Weybridge, so that’s already in my thoughts.”

And Pearce, a former world number one, is also determined to improve his current ranking.

“I am currently number four, just over 500 points behind the number one,” said Pearce, who is based in Thorpe Bay.

“So as well as looking at winning my first slam singles title, being number one in the world would also be a good aim this year.”

But Pearce will still be switching between touchtennis and the more conventional style of the game.

“I wouldn’t say it was a hard transition between lawn tennis to touchtennis and I enjoy both,” he said.

“Both are enjoyable, but it takes dedication and some perseverance to do well in touchtennis because it’s quite different.

“It took me a good four or five events to get a good grip of the sport, but now I feel comfortable with both styles.”